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Cooking for One or Two

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Strip Steak

Strip Steak

Linda Larsen
When it's just you or the two of you, cooking for one or two presents a special challenge. How do you eat a varied, healthy diet without having tons of leftovers or having to throw away food? These tips and recipes will help you cook for two and keep a lid on your food expenses while eating healthy, delicious food. Take a look at my Quick Tips for Cooking for One or Two.

It's just been the two of us, my husband and me, for our whole married life. What has worked well for us is to make a large casserole but divide it into two smaller baking pans. Bake one right away and wrap and freeze the other (well labeled, of course). That way you still have leftovers for lunch, and an easy dinner another day. Think about cooking once and eating twice whenever you are in the kitchen. You may just be able to take a week off of cooking if you are really efficient!

I also just make main dish salads in the summer and we just eat them until they are gone. I try to use lots of fruits and vegetables in them so the salads really are a one dish meal. Vary dinners by serving different kinds of whole wheat bread, or additional vegetables or fruits with the same salad.

Think about serving more unusual foods for some meals. For instance, I have found that Chicken Melon Salad makes a fabulous breakfast. Serve breakfast foods for lunch or dinner. Omelets, pancakes, and scrambled eggs are satisfying and comforting when eaten for dinner. You'll have fewer leftovers and more interesting meal choices. When you're cooking for two you can experiment more, so have fun!

Peg Bracken's The Compleat I Hate To Cook Book is a great source for recipes for one or two. She says to try to balance out your nutrition over a few days, rather than making completely balanced meals three times a day. If you rely heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are perishable and should be consumed quickly anyway, you'll be eating a healthy diet.

Romantic Dinner for Two

One of the best parts about cooking for two is being able to choose more expensive, exotic ingredients. A romantic dinner for two is fun to plan and execute. I selected the recipes for this menu that are easy to prepare, have balanced color, texture, temperature and flavor, and store or freeze well if you happen to have leftovers. Save the leftover Steak for Beef Spinach Salad or the leftover salmon for Salmon Orzo Salad

Cooking for One or Two

Cooking a larger quantity of food and using the leftovers in another recipes in the next day or two is also a great way to reduce time in your kitchen. In the recipe for Grilled Turkey Tenderloins, above, for example, you can use the leftover grilled meat in Pasta Turkey Salad the next day, and Cashew Vegetable Turkey Stir-Fry the next.

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